Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Saturday September 20 2008
It`s a long journey home tonight, 233 miles to be precise, for all those that took the long road to Blackburn and it`ll be a long journey home.
Reflecting on what went on today, many will be gutted that we lost 1-0 because, to put it bluntly, there was no way Blackburn were any better than us in a game that rarely reached the heights we`d expected.
The only difference between the sides, in the end, was the goal from Matt Derbyshire, eight minutes from time.
Disappointingly, it means we`ve yet to win on the road this season although perhaps it is a bit too early to start worrying about us replicating the events of last year whereby it took an eternity to win away from home in the Premier League.
For the fixture, Roy Hodgson chose to stick with the same eleven that started last weekend, against Bolton Wanderers. In the early stages it looked to be paying dividends as we had the greater share of possession but without seriously troubling Paul Robinson in the home goal.
However, any ideas Robinson had of it being an easy day were dispelled when he was forced to produce a great save from an Andy Johnson effort from eight yards out.
That save seemed to wake Blackburn up and their recent signing from MK Dons, Keith Andrews, fired a volley inches wide before a Pedersen free kick hit the wall.
Blackburn, who had a fearsome reputation for being a tough tackling team a couple of years ago then appeared to give Jimmy Bullard the full treatment.
First Andrews caught him with a ridiculously high challenge before Brett Emerton also clattered into the effervescent midfielder. Both players were rightly shown the yellow card.
As half time approached, Blackburn finished the stronger of the two teams. Pedersen produced a great save out of Mark Schwarzer before Emerton went on a stirring run that saw him curl a shot against the post.
At half time there was every optimism to suggest that Fulham could go on and snatch a winner but somehow the game fell a little flat without any team looking as if they could, or would score.
Bullard produced a long range shot that was easily collected by Robinson before Bobby Zamora landed a header from a John Pantsil cross, onto the roof of the net.
Perhaps Ince was the braver of the two managers making the allotted three changes because it was to pay dividends.
Villaneuva produced some sparkling touches one of which picked out Roque Santa Cruz who deftly headed the ball down for Derbyshire to score. With only eight minutes left of normal time Fulham looked trumped.
Indeed, Villaneuva nearly scored a second when he cut in and produced a curling shot that went narrowly wide.
I`m not sure to put it down as one of those days or describe it as a sign of things to come; I guess we`ll know when we return to the same part of the country, in midweek, to play Burnley in the Carling Cup!
Until then I`ll reserve judgement.
Date:Saturday September 20 2008
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